“Mentalist. Magician. Illusionist. Snake oil Salesman. Been called it all, and so much worse, by every mouth from here to the Eastern Sea. ‘Course by the time most people figure out the last one, I’m on to the next town, the next county, and folks don’t quite have the coin to waste it on gas catchin’ up on us, y’know. By the time they’d be runnin’ back to demand their five cents, we’d be gone in a curlin’ swirl of smoke. Dustbowl ‘Merica, packed full of frownin’ people we’re just here to make smile, and earn a few copper.
Course that’s the simple version, ini’t it? ‘Round here the Strong Man really is strong. The snake dancer really can talk to that damn snake. The disappearing act may be some sort of blood sucker. And me? The only girlie magician for any circus in this country, well, you could say I’m jus’ a little magical. Sure. You could say whatever you wanted ‘bout us, ‘bout my freak family, but you ain’t go no proof, do ya? ‘Sides, if ya’ll only knew what we do for ya on a nightly basis, you’d come crawlin’ back thankin’ us, not callin’ us charlatans and thieves.
Some of us were cursed, that’s fer sure. Some were just born funny, like me, runaways and vagabonds who only could find a home amongst the freaks and geeks. Here’s the only place I know where blood ain’t thicker than water, and when the dust clouds roll in, great storms that’ll leave you wanderin’ blind, we hunker down together and share stories of lives we ain’t ever really had, but the unspoken rule is that we don’t question it, cause we all want it so badly. Ain’t a single one of us who ain’t ‘shamed or terrified of their own nature. Not a one.
There’s a hidden poetry in the night here. ‘Tween the bright tents, the burnin’ lights, the smells of rolled cigarettes, of drownin’ tequila, and burnt sugar. None of you folk would ever suspect the battles for yer souls that happens here, it’s almost damn well epic, if you’ll ‘scuse my language. Some say we’re ‘gainst God, that we’re the Devil’s youngins, be we ain’t. I promise you that much. Here, we’re fightin’ the Devil at every turn. Sure, some of us may have been evil, or some such, but now we’re helpin’, fightin’ back, lettin’ you sleep at night while the balance ‘tween good and evil is fought with blood, tears, and lies.
What I can do compared to you is a lot, but you oughta know it ain’t nothing ‘gainst the demons that crawl from the shadows. Each town, well, it has its own infestation, its own problems. Sheriffs who’re werewolves, apothecaries who’re vampires, judges who’re makin’ devil deals, soul pacts. God damn dirty, if you ask me. ‘Scuse my language again. Jus’ boils my blood, it does. So next time you come walkin’ into our home and ya’ll tell us to get lost like a pack of mangy mutts, ya’ll just better remember what you’re gamblin’ with when we ain’t here, when we ain’t cleanin’ up yer messes.”
Welcome to the Crossroads Carnival. A ramshackle freak and geek show with sideshows from all around the world. A world where monsters exist, where terror stalks the night, where things shuffle from under the bed in the wee hours of the morning. In a country that struggles with morality, with poverty, with the never ending tomorrow and the day after.
So much more rides on the heavy shoulders of those souls collected by the carnival. The eternal struggle, the immortal balance of good and evil, an epic battle wages in those solemn grounds, between the tents and the cages. For there are no tricks at the Carnival, there are no lies, no deceitful shenanigans to swindle a penny from the crowd. Everything seen is real. Everything.
This game is a struggle with identity. The characters’ choices are integral to their soul. The carnival should be the ground zero for a battle between good and evil. Every choice they make should have consequence, every love they have should create a hate, every life a death. The carnival sideshows should always straddle the great precipice between a deep understanding of the world and the raging selfishness of a monster.
In this world, humans are inherently good and may fall into evil. Monsters are inherently evil but may strive for good. Remember that when creating your monsters. Feel free to create your own cards, and in your story, explain what monster (or hint at what monster) they are.
Hosted and narrated by:
Kate Bullock (Sloom)
Scenes played: 9
License: Community License